Nothing about the current shape of the Philadelphia 76ers' roster sounds like an appealing situation. Unless you're an undrafted free agent like former St. John's forward Jakarr Sampson just begging to be added to an NBA roster.
Hidden behind the guaranteed deals of NBA Draftees and the promise of second-round picks are the underclass of players - not always underclass in terms of talent, but in fame, notoriety. Those players trying to latch on and prove themselves in the NBA, those players who make fans thumb through their team guide asking "who is that?"
Part of that undrafted unit is former St. John's forward JaKarr Sampson. Signing a partially guaranteed three-year deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, Sampson entered the place undrafted free agents go to thrive, and not necessarily to win.
Sampson may be close to his regular-season NBA dream.
The Philadelphia 76ers are, to be frank, the face of the NBA's worst seven-letter word, "tanking." Completely tearing down their roster and rebuilding from the ground up, the club was speculated to have even shopped around reigning Rookie of the Year point guard Michael Carter-Williams during the off-season in attempt to make themselves even worse - if that's possible - which would give them more chances at top talent in next year's draft.
The 76ers have let the world know they don't plan to win in the immediate future. Which means the team is fine with developing talented, but raw players for the future. But on a roster like this is opportunity.
Jakarr Sampson is coming off a 2013-14 campaign at St. John's where he averaged 12.8 points per game and 6.1 rebounds, along with shooting just under 50 percent from the field (49.5).
He left St. John's in search of an NBA opportunity, knowing that his chances of being drafted were low. He went undrafted, but shined in the NBA Summer League for the team and earned a shot at training camp.
In a frontcourt loaded with future talent (at least the Sixers hope so), Sampson struggled to find his way into the mix early on. The team boasts centers Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid (the latter of the two may miss the entire season due to injury), both former top-5 lottery draft picks.
At the power forward position, he faced the challenge of cracking into the rotation against a veteran player in Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and against a young Queens, NY, product Arnett Moultrie.
But Jakarr Sampson's defense may be the ticket to an NBA roster spot. According to Brett Brown in the Philadelphia Daily News,
"I think that he, at the moment, would be among our better defenders, which is really what we're trying to most pay attention to this year, how we build our program. I think everybody from time to time has stood out, but he recently has caught our eye and is somebody we're excited to develop."
"Experts" have said there isn't much to be expected out of Philadelphia in 2014-15, which is a claim that would have little dispute. But don't tell that to Sampson, who with his three-year deal has gone from undrafted free agent to a strong possibility of being a member of an NBA roster.
According to head coach Brett Brown, "he's [Sampson] really put himself in a position...to make our roster."
Tonight is the final preseason game for Philadelphia, after which, the team will make their final decisions. Will Sampson make the NBA roster? He seems like he has done all that he could and shown his value.